So I’m in Walgreen’s. I’m there to get some medicine. I know how the pharmacy is though,
Knowing this, I always get myself mentally prepared before I head back to the hinterland strategically placed in the farthest corner of the store, (so all the elderly, sick and otherwise ailing will have to walk ALLLLLLLL the way through the building, thus coming in contact with a copious amount of other patrons, who will inevitably be exposed to whatever virus, ailment, or infection causes them to need drugs, thereby ensuring that a new harvest of sickies will be in next week for more over-priced, under-effectual pharmaceuticals. It’s just good business!) but I digress. . .
I have a plan before I go in. I hit the magazine counter first. I pick up reading “literature” I would never purchase, like Star, or Us, or some other salacious rag. I then meander down the drink aisle, because when I finally receive said medications, I will want to take one right away. And since I’m right there, I might as well pick up something upon which to gnosh. I pass by the cakes and donuts – I haven’t had lunch, and they look like insulin shock waiting to happen – and I’m not even diabetic. Maybe some trail mix? Nope. Everything’s got cranberries in it now – and I’m strangely and hugely allergic. How about an Oreo Cakester???? Uh-uh. I read somewhere that those are basically crap in a bag (I’m paraphrasing, of course, Kearsie). I finally decide upon something a little more substantial and better for me…Blue Diamond Bold Wasabi & Soy Sauce Almonds.
I get myself all settled and cozy and prepared for the 30 minute wait for the pharm-tech told me about. Good, I get to have 30 uninterupted minutes of reading about what Jennifer said about Angelina, and how Brad is really upset. All while sitting in the nice massage chair. Who needs a spa??? This is what I call a hot night in Brooksville. Mind you, it’s only 3:00 in the afternoon. I’ve only just cracked open my almonds – and I just found out “Who Wore it Better?” when they call my name. Aww, shoot! Oh, well. I make my drug buy, then head out of the store when something catches my eye.
It’s the paperback version of a teeny-bopper, vampire romance novel. At least, that’s what I surmise. Again, from what I’ve read from other bloggers (Sounds Like Tomatoes – Kearsie, here’s another plug for you.) it is full of angst and smells-like-teen-spiritedness. But Kearsie likes it, so maybe I’ll give it a go. I make my selection, leaving only one copy behind (man- this book is REALLY popular!), and I head down the aisle on the way to the cash register. Or so I think!
In another deviously planned plot, the evil geniuses who design the layout of stores and mega-marts have cunningly placed the romance novels and magazine racks conveniently located by the racks and racks of CHOCOLATE! It is of the devil, I tell you! As I dilly-dally, I find myself eyeing a bar of Ghirardelli’s Peppermint Bark chocolate. It is sinfully tempting, calling to me from it’s characteristically red and white striped box. I am further enticed with the warning that this delectation is a *gasp!* LIMITED EDITION. What if they’re all gone the next time I come to the store? What if I never get to sample the “rich chocolate layers sprinkled with festive peppermint?” Well, that tears it! I MUST have one.
Life choices made, I finally make it to the counter. I have a couple other necessities that I place on the counter. As the clerk tallies my quarry, the last two items to be totalled are the large bar of chocolate, and a smutty novel. I actually laughed out loud. The man looked at me, bewildered. (I get that a lot – I’m not sure why.) I tried to explain to him why that was so funny to me. But he just gave me the polite “you’re taking up my time, and I want you to go” chuckle, and handed me my purchases. In my mind, it was quintessential girlieness. I guess the musical lyricist said it best, “I enjoy being a girl.”
The thoughts in my mind swirl, unfettered by logic or constraint. A cacaphony of topics dart in and out . . . weaving, colliding, bobbing, entwining. Unseen and unhindered by the dance, they move freely between the swirling fabric of continuity and coherence. A single thread, narrowly escapes and is within reach of lucid expression, but as suddenly as it appears, it is pulled back into the mayhem, and completely lost from view.
My mind has been the dance floor, crowded with the faithful spinning with abandon in search of enlightenment. To the outside observer, it is chaotic; frantic even. The constant twirling distracts and overstimulates the casual celebrant. However to the practiced, the constancy of movement is cathartic. In its overabundance of stimuli, a kind of white noise emerges where all the dancers become one. Moving in concert with one another, the dancers rise and fall with surprising regularity. Life breathing in , then out…in, and out…an intangible calm placates the clamoring throng.
At last, the dancers collapse in on each other, no longer discernible as individuals. The twirling fabric comes to rest and all is still. The mind is at peace. The body rests.
October is among my favorite times of year. The stifling humidity and triple-digit temperatures of Central Florida begrudgingly acquiesce, making way for the relieving, seasonal rains and blessed breezes. The syncopated strains of my Alma Mater’s high school band waft effortlessly to my neighborhood, and if I listen carefully, I can hear the dulcimer tones of the announcer as he regales the crowd with the play by play. Homecoming is right around the corner! Coincidentally, it’s also time for my College homecoming, too. I always look forward to the delivery of the “Season’s” magazine from my other Alma Mater, Samford University. I love the opportunity to catch up with happenings in Homewood, Alabama. I go to the alumni section first so that I can read about the lives of people I knew way back when.
This October is no different. . .the Hernando High School Royal Regiment plays to encourage the Junior Varsity football team as I open my mailbox to find the latest edition of “Season’s” magazine. Waxing nostalgic, I pour over the pages and am magically transported back to sights, sounds and smells of 800 Lakeshore Drive. I was greatly saddened to see the following story:
So while I contemplate dual homecomings at Hernando High School and Samford University, Dr. Shepherd is experiencing the ultimate homecoming, playing the celestial instruments in praise to her Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ.
Retired Samford School of the Arts professor Betty Sue Shepherd died on Thursday, Aug. 2. Shepherd taught piano at Samford for fifty years and retired in 2007. She received the university’s George Macon Memorial Award award in 2004 in recognition of her dedication to teaching. She was named Teacher of the Year by the Alabama Music Teachers Association in 2001. Shepherd’s students have had recurring success in regional and national competitions and in admission to graduate school.
A concert pianist who was organist at Vestavia Hills Baptist Church for more than 35 years, Shepherd was also the author of two publications of hymn arrangements, By Request: Favorite Hymns for Organ and Sacred Concert Stylings, for piano.
I was privileged to have studied piano under Dr. Betty Sue Shepherd, and to worship with her at Vestavia Hills Baptist Church. As a teacher, she was relentlessly challenging while managing to encourage at the same time. In worship, she was jubilant and effervescent. While I am sure that she is lovingly embraced in the heavenly chorus, I am equally sure that we who remain shall miss her terribly.